Wintec councillors award pay-rises, staff next hopefully

Posted By TEU on May 12, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 16

Wintec’s ministerially appointed council has awarded pay rises to itself of between 17 and 131 percent, but management has only offered Wintec staff a $700 lump sum payment in the last three years. Indeed, in the last six months it has been making a small number of staff redundant on the basis that it does not have enough money.

In 2009, fourteen people sat on Wintec’s council and collected $93,000 in fees. Then, in 2010, the eight councillors, appointed by either the Minister of Tertiary Education or the council itself, collected just under $109,000.

TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey says TEU members are ready to negotiate, and now that Wintec has seemingly worked out how to give pay rises staff are anticipating that they should get one too.

“Wintec TEU members have a bargaining team together ready to negotiate at any time. They know what the issues are at their workplace and they are confident that they have simple, effective solutions to those issues. Now they are just waiting for Wintec’s management to come to the table.”

Dr Grey says the government’s changes to polytechnic councils, including stripping out staff and student representatives, were meant to curb costs and bring professional governance experience to the polytechnic.

“Instead Wintec’s council has been using public money to lose costly legal battles with its own staff and awarding itself huge pay rises. Three of the eight council members, Dr Bryce Cooper, Steve Tucker and Aaron Rick, saw their payments jump over 100 percent from $5000 or $6000 to more than $12,000.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

Other news

A new poll showing the public back MMP affirms that voters want to retain a real choice in how they elect their representatives, MMP campaigners say. “New Zealanders clearly want to retain a real choice in how they elect MPs. They don’t want their votes to be wasted, as they were before the public switched to MMP” – Dr Sandra Grey, Campaign for MMP spokesperson.

Regan Hopkins, the head of adventure tourism, business and sport, at Aoraki polytechnic resigned late last week after being appointed last year following a restructure in early 2010. Tertiary Education Union organiser Kris Smith said she understood Mr Hopkins was blamed for issues that arose in February within the polytechnic’s flagship outdoor education programme. When students returned to start the year, they found their four tutors were on sick leave. Ms Smith said at the time that staff had cited work-related stress as their reason, and that they felt undervalued – Timaru Herald

In a pre-Budget speech, Mr Key said his Government would reduce the KiwiSaver member tax credit – the subsidy of up to $1043 a year or $20 a week for each worker – as it seeks to reduce the $1.1 billion a year it spends on the scheme. Individuals and employers would be forced to make up the difference with higher contributions – New Zealand Herald

“Well I’d hate to get into a flaming row with one of our academics but he’s offering his view… He’s one academic and, like lawyers, I can provide you with another one who will give you a counter view.” – Prime Minister John Key dismisses academic criticism of his government’s environmental record.

The Australian higher education sector will have an additional AU$7 billion from indexation increases and funding for additional students from this week’s budget. It also receives a record AU$9.3 billion science and research budget has effectively stemmed outcry from the medical research fraternity, which had been protesting against a rumoured AU$400 million in cuts, which have not eventuated –The Australian

A foundation bankrolled by libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign-off on any employees for a new program promoting “political economy and free enterprise.” –St Petersburg Times

TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day.

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